PCA Board of Elections Results 2014
Congratulations to Cliff Harrington, Jim Rouse and Ron Zorn, who were elected to the PCA Board for 2015. A big "thank you" to these board members for their willingness to serve PCA for three years.
Each Board Member serves a three-year term. During that time, he or she serves on at least one and possibly more committees, and participates in monthly conference calls, which are supplemented by meetings at pen shows when possible. One meeting, usually directly after the DC Show, involves the annual Board retreat, which is a several-hour gathering to discuss larger strategic issues. This is not a "title-only" position. The current and former Boards have worked hard to establish and maintain key projects, including the evolving website, Pens for Kids, and the partnership with the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. We have several exciting things in the works. We are looking forward to working with our new board members on these and also hearing their new ideas for our PCA!
I have been a fountain pen user since my youth, and a serious collector since the mid-1980s. The principle focus of my collecting is on pre-war pens and ephemera of the Wahl-Eversharp Company. I have built a large Wahl-Eversharp collection, have written an article on the production of early Wahl Pens, and have given presentations on the brand at various pen shows. Pen World published an article about my collection. I am working on a book about Wahl and related brands. I also collect Waterman safeties, particularly those with factory metal overlays, as well as silver and niello overlaid pens by the small French manufacturer, L’Oro.
I have made many friends throughout the world as a result of collecting pens, and the personal relationships I have developed are undoubtedly the thing I like most about the hobby. I attend the Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington and Columbus pen shows each year, as well as shows in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, the UK, and occasionally France and Italy. Pen shows give me the ideal opportunity to visit with friends and to make new acquaintances who are interested in writing with pens.
If elected, I would like to help to continue to improve the Pennant, to provide additional resources for members, to develop increased interest in pen collecting, and to make a more effective PCA Board, using skills developed through years of participation as an officer and board member of corporations and non-profit organizations.
When I am not collecting pens, I am a senior partner in the Washington, DC, office of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, a large international law firm, focusing my practice on the representation of companies involved in the communications industry. My wife Elizabeth joins me at most pen shows, and we reside in McLean, Virginia, about one mile from the DC Supershow.
I stumbled into pens when I was a district manager of a shoe company and I used to peruse Yafa novelty pens in the White Flint Mall outside Baltimore. (A certain Bert Oser seemed to be in the picture. I particularly remember a cool skeleton pen with incredible mechanics.) My first fountain pen purchase was a grey vintage Parker 51 set I bought from Menash at the first DC pen show, so I go 'way back. But one day Bert and I managed to spy a jewelry store going out of business in the mall and we decided to buy and flip the store's display cases as a way of generating some quick cash. At some point during the flipping process, though, we looked at each other and asked "Why don't we just open a pen store instead?" And the rest, as they say, is history. Bertram's Inkwell continues to this day, although I have moved in some new and different directions. I am currently Vice President of operations for Franklin-Christoph in Wake Forest seller of Fine Pens, Leather, Paper and Inks. Prior to that I was Director of Operations for Hampton Haddon the former Sheaffer distributor.
In terms of my personal collecting interest, I started out with a passion for Cross pens of the 1920s and 1930s, particularly the pastels and lacquers, and at some point I had nearly 200 of those. I moved into an interest in high-end ballpoint pens (nearly 100 at my collecting peak) and now I have and use about 50 fountain pens (some Sheaffers, no surprise). Some people collect pens purely for the visual aesthetics of them; I'm fascinated by the design and the mechanical details.
My desire is to continue in my position as a Board of Directors member of the PCA, I feel I still have a lot of work to do. I want our hobby to find new, unique and different ways to reach the next generation of writers; to have a hand, so to speak, in making sure young people find, buy, and use a range of writing instruments that will help them express their ideas and their creativity.
One could be excused if they were to say that my interest in pens is genetic. Even at age 10, if my mother couldn’t find me in a store, she just went to the stationery department. There I was looking at pens. (true)
My interest in fountain pens dates to elementary school, and became a serious hobby when a co-worker gave me her mothers pens over 20 years ago. I learned how to repair pens so that I could use the pens that I bought. The skills developed, the hobby turned into a business at the prodding, and with the encouragement of, friends already deeply involved with the pen community. The motivation to do so was as much to help others enjoy their pens as anything else. One of the reasons why I agreed to be a moderator of the repair forum on the Fountain Pen Network was so that I would have a medium to encourage and advise those who are interested in repairing their pens.
I’d like to build this on the PCA board. Pen collectors are bright, fun to be with, great people, but there are a lot of pen users and collectors who don’t know the value of the PCA. I’d like to find ways to overcome the resistance of the current age to join anything. The PCA is already working to reach out and become more relevant to today’s collectors. I’d like to see that expand.